Like many people, Purrington believed Twinkies are basically immortal, although the official shelf life is 45 days. He removed a Twinkie from the box, unwrapped it — it looked fine — and took a bite. Then he retched.
“It tasted like old sock,” Purrington says. “Not that I’ve ever eaten old sock.”
That’s when he examined the other Twinkies. Two looked weird. One had a dark-colored blemish the size of a quarter. The other Twinkie was completely transformed — it was gray, shrunken and wrinkly, like a dried morel mushroom.
“Matt is going to want that Twinkie,” thought Lovett, the instant he saw the mummified one.
That’s because, in the past, their lab has tested how well molds grow in Peeps, the classic Easter treat. Fungi actually found it difficult to survive on Peeps, because of the food’s low water content. “In a way, they are kind of like an extreme environment, right?” Kasson notes. “The food industry has crafted the ability to make foods that have a long shelf life.”
Still, Kasson says, fungi are everywhere and have an amazing set of chemical tools that let them break down all kinds of substances. “You find fungi growing on jet fuel,” he says.
The researchers immediately thought some kind of fungus was involved in attacking the 8-year-old Twinkies, because they’ve studied fungi that kill insects and dry them out in a similar way. Plus, the reddish blotch on one Twinkie seemed to have a growth pattern that’s typical of fungi.
They reached out to Purrington, who was only too happy to mail them the Twinkies immediately. “Science is a collaborative sport,” he says. “If someone can take this and figure out what was actually growing, I’m all in. I really want to know what species exactly was eating my Twinkies.”
Maybe Team Fungi is on the right path here.
Also, I should study Peeps too, except writing about how it is the worst candy ever.
A brewery in Texas is bringing a little taste of the Queen City to the south.
Martin House Brewing Company in Fort Worth, Texas has decided to brew up a sour beer in the flavor of a beloved Buffalo food item: the chicken wing.
“Literally a Buffalo wing sauce sour beer,” the brewery described it in a post shared on Facebook Wednesday morning.
The next time Texas secedes, can we just let them go?